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You may also wish to Read the blog article on this document.
October 2020

Volunteer wellbeing: what works and who benefits?

Volunteer wellbeing: what works and who benefits?
In partnership with

The big picture

Most people in Great Britain – around seven in ten – formally volunteer through a group, club or organisation at some point in their lives. Currently, one in five people volunteer at least once a month and most get involved locally in their own neighbourhoods. Many more give their time in more informal ways in communities, for example, shopping or caring for neighbours.1

Volunteers offer invaluable support. But how can volunteering help support the wellbeing of volunteers themselves?

There is a growing body of research on the links between volunteering and wellbeing, and our review brought the most relevant studies together in one place. We focused on the experience of adult formal volunteers, and looked at the key factors involved in improving wellbeing through volunteering.

You can also find a full list of resources to support you on our volunteering page

  1. McGarvey, A., Jochum, V., Davies, J., Dobbs, J, and Hornung, L. (2019) Time Well Spent: a national survey on the volunteer experience https://www.ncvo.org.uk/policy-and-research/volunteering-policy/research, NCVO; NCVO (2020) UK Civil Society Almanac, https://data.ncvo.org.uk/ volunteering/
  • 17000

    papers and reports

  • 158

    included in this review

Close The big picture

How this evidence can help you

Evidence into action: applying the findings

What impact does volunteering have on volunteers?

Wellbeing at the heart of the volunteer experience

How are different people affected?

What are the pathways that lead to changes in wellbeing?

How is the way people volunteer linked to changes in wellbeing?

How does the volunteering experience affect the wellbeing of volunteers?

Looking for more support?

Five recommendations for policy, commissioners, and funders

Recommendations for research


You may also wish to read the blog article on this document.

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